In the space of a week, you could argue that Arsenal have effectively ruled themselves out of a title challenge. That’s not to say we’re incapable of competing from this point onwards- not at all. But I do think, realistically, and taking into account the momentum in Chelsea’s favour, it would take an effort of biblical proportion now for Arsenal to top the table at any point between now and May.
It’s not the defeats that create such frustration,, but the manner in which Arsenal lost. We’ve all sat through this kind of performance many times in the past.
Both yesterday’s result and the trip to Goodison Park in midweek started of full of promise. Arsenal kept the home crowd quiet and got themselves into an early lead, which appeared our undoing in both cases. As soon as we went 1-0 up, we appeared to lose all semblance of what we should do, and decided sauntering around the pitch and general lethargy was the best course of action. We defended poorly when it mattered most and lacked any cutting edge in attack.
To be frank, it was unbelievably sh*t-awful.
The performance in the 2nd half against City was one of the worst 45 minute periods I can recall watching Arsenal play. Away from home against a big rival in the league and with a 1-0 lead to protect, there was no urgency or desire to ensure we went home with the 3 points. It appeared as if the players came back out onto the pitch assuming they’d just have to be there to get the job done. From 1 -11 and substitutes included, every one didn’t perform to the level of which they are capable. And when you consider the stakes, it’s maddening that there wasn’t more effort on show.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t single out any one for blame as in team sport I find that a bit silly. However, there is an alarming trend in the performances of Francis Coquelin. He’s going the Alex Song route. Francis seems to have decided that he doesn’t actually need to hold in front of our back 4 at all times these days, and that he actually can impact on our attack in a fashion similar to peak Rivaldo. I can only assume that’s why he’s regularly seen charging into the penalty area or trying one-twos in the attacking third.
I like Coquelin. He’s tough and good in the tackle. But I can remember just how much it used to annoy me watching Alex Song in the latter stages of his Arsenal career. The day he completed that diagonal, across-field pass to Robin van Persie to score changed everything, and from that moment onwards he became a total f*cking liability. Instead of doing what he is on the pitch to do, Song started to think he was a creative playmaker. Coquelin is just starting to show signs of doing the same. At certain points, gaping holes appeared in our defensive cover on account of his positional indiscipline and that needs to stop.
But of course, Coquelin alone wasn’t responsible for the defeat. His perceived shortcomings is just something I’ve noticed recently. There is no point assigning blame and picking everything apart looking for answers. The truth is, in the last two games we haven’t been good enough. That frustrates many fans and rightfully so. However, as is customary with Arsenal, defeat is accompanied by pure, unfiltered rage and stupidity.
I’ve made no secret in the past my disdain for Arsenal Fan TV. I’ve not met any of those responsible so can’t comment on what they are like as people, it’s the concept of what they do I find abhorrent. It’s controversy to get noticed. Often it’s dressed up as “passion” or the heart-felt opinions of “real fans”, but it’s not. Their entire existence is a falsity – something built to further exposure quickly and to do so using the pained bleatings of the emotionally incontinent.
Basically, they wheel out a selection of bewildered idiots simply to wind each other up and pretend to be passionate. When Arsenal lose, it’s an embarrassment to be associated with. Frustration and disappointment I understand. It’s as integral a part of football as its opposite. But there comes a point where that goes to far, and we live in a media society where that happens all the time.
I’m not angry to the point I want to hurl obscenities at fellow human beings or send death threats to players. I’m upset we lost but quickly let that slide and move onwards to the next game. And that is all we can do as supporters – support. Today isn’t a particularly good day, but the beauty of football is that can all change in a week. Just look at Chelsea and how they’ve turned it around since we beat them.
That’s all for this morning, folks. I’ll be back soon with more. Leave a comment below and, as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.